Just a few ingredients is all you need to make this super comforting and creamy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese. A low carb mac and cheese that is bulked out with cauliflower for extra nutrition, but still has all that flavour that you know and love.
Mac and cheese is always a favourite in our house and I am yet to meet a kid that doesn't love it. In my never ending attempt to get us to eat more vegetables, I love finding ways to "sneak" vegetables in to meals we already love, in a way that doesn't change the way it tastes.
So, cauliflower mac and cheese was born. A gooey, cheesy sauce coating macaroni and chunks of cauliflower, with the crispy cheese topping.
Why you will love it
- Quick and easy - This cauliflower cheese pasta takes just over 30 minutes to make and the hardest part is making these cheese sauce and that really isn't very hard at all!
- Healthier - This is a healthy mac and cheese, because we have reduced the amount of pasta used and bulked it out with cauliflower.
- Adaptable - This recipe has just a few ingredients, but we have given ways below to adapt it with extra vegetables or even some meat.
- Freezes well - This cauliflower macaroni cheese is great for batch cooking as it freezes really well. Portion it out and store in the freezer for easy weeknight meals the whole family will love.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Macaroni - To keep it traditional, this is the pasta that you could use to make make and cheese. But really, any pasta will work, so use what you have.
- Cauliflower - It wouldn't be cauliflower mac and cheese without it. Make sure that you cut it into small pieces, so it cooks well and it is more hidden that way - perfect for fussy eaters.
- Cheese sauce - A really good cheese sauce is essential to an amazing mac and cheese. It really is the star of the show. We have made our own cheese sauce, and give you the recipe for that. However, if you wanted to save time then you could use a mixture of creme fraiche and cheese.
- Parmesan - More cheese is better when it comes to mac and cheese, right? We added some parmesan on top, which gives it a really nice crispy topping.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make cauliflower mac and cheese - Step by step
Prep: Preheat your oven to 190°C/170°C(fan)/375°F/Gas 5.
One: Put the macaroni into a pan of boiling water. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Two: After 5 minutes, add the cauliflower to the pan of pasta.
Three: Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce.
Four: Drain the macaroni and cauliflower and put into a baking dish.
Five: Pour over the cheese sauce. Mix well so that all the macaroni and cauliflower are coated.
Six: Sprinkle over the grated Parmesan. Put into the oven for 20 minutes. The top should be browning and bubbling.
What to serve with cauliflower mac and cheese
Everyone know that garlic bread and pasta are a match made in heaven. Carby heaven! Either buy some ready made, or make your own easy garlic bread by cutting up some French stick and spreading it with a mix of butter, crushed garlic and dried herbs. Then pop it in the oven for 10 minutes.
You could also keep it simple with a big green salad. The key to an epic green salad is to use a variety of greens, like romaine, spinach, kale and rocket. You want leafy greens, but crunch too. Then you need the perfect dressing. Why not try our Lemon Vinaigrette, Honey and Mustard Dressing or Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette. You could also try our Grilled Little Gem Salad.
This really isn't missing meat, and we love it as a meat free meal. However, if you did want to add meat then there are lots of options. You could mix in some leftover shredded chicken or even some chopped sausage. Why not try our Chorizo Mac and Cheese?
For extra vegetables, then frozen peas and sweetcorn are a good addition, and they usually go down well with kids. For some greens, you could put broccoli in at the same time as the cauliflower, or even add some chopped spinach.
For some extra flavour, you can roast the cauliflower first. This totally changes the texture and flavour of it and we really think it is worth the extra time. Why not try our Roasted Cauliflower recipe?
If you want to add some crunch to the top of the cauliflower mac and cheese, then you can mix the Parmesan with some panko breadcrumbs and sprinkle that on top.
Store: Make sure the cauliflower mac and cheese has completely cooled and store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freeze: Once cooled, separate into freezer containers and it will keep for up to 2 months.
Defrost: This does freeze well, although the sauce my separate when defrosted, so make sure to stir it well before serving. You can defrost it in the fridge overnight.
Reheat: Reheat it in the microwave until piping hot throughout.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have reduced the amount of pasta used, and added cauliflower to bulk it out and add nutrition. Cauliflower is low in calories, and also a good source of vitamins C, K and B6. It is also a good source of fibre, and there are 3 grams of fibre in one cup of cauliflower, which is important for digestive health and may reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. Cauliflower is also a good source of antioxidants, which protect your cells from harmful free radicals and inflammation.
However, this is still cheesy pasta, so portion control is key.
If you use gluten free pasta, then this is a gluten free dish. Make sure you grate your own cheese, as pre-grated cheese has a coating on it that might not be gluten free. Check for cross contamination too.
More cheese recipes
If you’ve tried this cauliflower mac and cheese recipe, let us know how you got on in the comments below.
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Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- 1 recipe Cheese sauce
- 250 g (8.75 oz) Macaroni
- 1 head Cauliflower - cut into small pieces
- 50 g (0.5 cups) Parmesan - grated
- Preheat your oven to 190°C/170°C(fan)/375°F/Gas 5.
- Put 250 g Macaroni into a pan of boiling water. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, add 1 head Cauliflower to the pan of pasta.
- Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce.
- Drain the macaroni and cauliflower and put into a baking dish.
- Pour over the cheese sauce. Mix well so that all the macaroni and cauliflower are coated.
- Sprinkle over 50 g Parmesan.
- Put into the oven for 20 minutes. The top should be browning and bubbling.
- The cheese sauce may look runny when mixed with the macaroni, but it will thicken up as it cools.
- For something a little different, we like stirring a couple of tablespoons of good quality BBQ sauce into the cheese sauce. It adds such a nice flavour.
- If you wanted to really hide the cauliflower, then you could blend it into the cheese sauce.
- If you love some spice in your meals, you can add a sprinkle of red chilli flakes to the cheese sauce.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.